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New Released Book Explores Gender, Health, and Human Rights in a Contemporary Setting

2 Oct 2003

Titled "Global Presciptions — Gendering Health and Human Rights", Rosalind Pollack Petchesky's new book, is a deeply informed analysis of women's efforts to affect health policy at international and national level. This 306-page volume, co-published with Zed Books, is also a major contribution to contemporary debates on gender, health, and human rights in a post 9/11 world dominated by militarism.

“Global Prescriptions” offers a critical analysis of the role of transnational women's groups in setting the international and national agendas for women's health. It reviews a decade of women's participation in UN conferences, transnational networks, national advocacy efforts and sexual and reproductive health provision. It presents case studies of national-level reform and advocacy efforts and appraises the controversy concerning TRIPS, trade, and essential AIDS drugs.

The author reviews the formidable political and ideological forces confronting global justice movements and offers a sobering reassessment of transnational women's NGOs. She argues that the power of women's transnational coalitions is only as great as their organic connection with grassroots social movements.

“This book provides a poignant analysis of the three decades of feminist struggles for gender equality, women’s health, and reproductive rights and freedoms. These struggles are a powerful reminder of the indispensability of rights as the moral expression of political claims”, stated UNRISD Director, Thandika Mkandawire.

As part of the preparation by UNRISD for the UN's five-year review of the World Summit for Social Development (WSSD) in 2000, the Institute asked Rosalind Petchesky to prepare a paper on the interface between reproductive rights and social development. This paper was published in the Institute's Occasional Paper series (OPG8-downloadable from this website), and also contributed directly to the UNRISD Report for Geneva 2000, "Visible Hands : Taking Responsibility for Social Development." Rosalind, however, took the initiative to turn the work that she had done for UNRISD into the present book-length manuscript, which is a valuable contribution to current debates on the gendering of health and human rights.

Contents: Foreword — Thandika Mkandawire, Director of UNRISD•Preface and Acknowledgements•Part I. Transnationalizing Women's Health Movements•From North to South: De-Centering Leadership, Shifting Vantage Points•Ethical Frameworks of Reproductive and Sexual Rights•Ethical Frameworks: Relinking the Body and Social Development, Human Rights and Basic Needs•A Note on the Irrepressibility of Rights - Deeper into the Thicket•Part II. The UN Conferences as Sites of Discursive Struggle: Gains and Fault Lines•Reassessing Cairo and Beijing: Substantive Achievements and Shortfalls•Learning from the Fault Lines: Political Dynamics at the Social Summit and the "Plus-Fives"•Back to the Future: Copenhagen+5 in 2000•Toward Polycentric Strategies and Multiform Visions•Part III. HIV/AIDS and the Human Right to Health: On a Collision Course with Global Capitalism•"People's Health before Patents and Profits": The Global Campaign for Access to Medicines•"Equity Pricing" or the Human Right to Health? •Specifying the Human Right to Health in the Era of HIV/AIDS•Part IV. Managing Health under Global Capitalism: Equity vs. Productivity•Globalization = Global Capitalism•Global Capitalism Reforming Itself: The World Bank on Poverty and Health•Health Sector Reforms: Where Is Gender? Where Is Justice? •Alternative Ethics of Health Provision•Part V. Implementing International Norms at the National Level: Women's Health NGOs on the Firing Line•NGOs as Country-level Implementers and Monitors•NGOs as Service Providers in lieu of the State•NGOs as "partners" in Health Reform•The Many Faces of Privatization•Part VI. Conclusion: Reflections on Transnational Feminist Movements and Global Governance in an Era of Infinite War•Prologue•The Need for Global Governance•The Strategic Place of Transnational NGOs and Coalitions•Epilogue: Is another World Possible? •Bibliography•Index.

Rosalind Pollack Petchesky is distinguished professor of political science, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is founder and past coordinator of the International Reproductive Rights Research Action Group (IRRRAG).

Order from: Zed Books 7 Cynthia Street, London N1 9JF, United Kingdom, Tel +44 (0)20 7837 4014; Fax +44 (0)20 7833, 3960; email: sales@zedbooks.demon.co.uk